Here is a close up photo of the flowers of oneof my very favorite wild orchids, the Orchis Bouc. The Goat Orchid or Himantoglossum hircinum.
This particular specimen is about 2 and a half feet tall and is growing next to my lilac near the vegetable garden. It took about 5 years for the soil to lose the fertility from being a cow pasture and allow this plant to florish and flower.
This year, I also noticed a bee orchid beginning to come up next to the house.
The Goat Orchid was totally unexpected and quite spectacular. I noticed some unusual leaves coming up iin the grass earlier this year and did not mow around it.
Now that the soil is losing its over fertility, I think I have to be very careful in the spring when I start to mow as there seem to be a lot of wild plants beginning to appear.
The flowers of the goat orchid are very unusual. They are hooded, and if you look carefully, you can see the typical orchid structure, but the sepals are incredible!
Long crazy twirly appendages give the plant a slightly deranged look. There is a strong spicy smell, very apparent if you bring the flower spike into a closed room.
I was very pleased to find this in my own property, perhaps in the next few years, more wild orchids will make their appearance. The plants will grow but remain flowerless and near dormant waiting for the soil chemistry to agree with it
Orchids need the proper soil chemistry to germinate and most of the species have evolved a relationship with a specific fungus to achieve germination of the seeds.
Here is a photo of the entire plant.
I have some friends across the valley who bought a property 10 years ago that had been used as a sheep pasture. About 5 years ago, wild orchids began to make their appearance and today, there are at least 8 species, including some of the tiniest. Some of the plants are lest than 3 inches tall. They have hundreds of a specie called Serapia, the form is not supposed to be common in this region, but for some reason, the conditions are perfect. This year, they found one of the vanilla scented rarities that hide here.